I have already sold this item on ebay, but I wanted to showcase it here as it was a really unique and wonderful item and had survived 100 years in remarkable condition.
Antique Brass Cigarette/Tobacco Tin, given to the troops by Princess Mary as a gift for Christmas during World War I in 1914. Tin measures 5″ long x 3 1/2″ wide x 1 1/8″ high.
If the soldier didn’t smoke, the same tins containing chocolate or candy or other small items were given instead of tobacco.
Embossed with the following on the lid: Princess Mary’s silhouette surrounded by Laurel Leaves and the letters M on either side; Christmas 1914, Imperium Britannicum, Russia, France, Belgium, Japan, Servia, and Monte Negro.
The tin contained the original packs of Tobacco, Cigarettes and the presentation card from Her Royal Highness Princess Mary wishing Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas and Victorious New Year, Christmas Fund 1914. The cigarette pack was opened with 19 cigarettes remaining in the pack. Each cigarette has a Princess Mary logo on the paper. The package of tobacco was unopened.
Recently on TV, on a documentary about the Coast of Scotland, my ears perked up when I heard the commentator mention a brass cigarette tin from Princess Mary that survived a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland at the end of the first world war. The tin was identical to the one in the above photo and it was all the woman had to remember her husband by after the shipwreck. His body was never recovered.
The following is from Wikipedia:
The Iolaire was carrying sailors who had fought in the First World War back to the Scottish island of Lewis. She left the port of Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland late on the evening of the 31 December 1918. But, at 2:30am on New Year’s Day, as the ship approached the port of Stornoway, a few yards offshore and a mile away from the safety of Stornoway Harbour, she hit the infamous rocks “The Beasts of Holm”, and eventually sank. The final death toll was officially put at 205, of whom 181 were islanders, but as the ship was badly overcrowded and there was a lack of proper records the death toll could have been slightly higher. John F. Macleod from Ness, Isle of Lewis, saved 40 lives, swimming ashore with a heaving line, along which many of the survivors made their way to safety. Only 75 of the 280 (officially known) passengers survived the disaster, 73% perished in the incident.